Bread – Journeys

November 7, 2017


Psalm 89

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever … You have cut short the days of his youth, You have covered him with shame.  How long, O Lord?  Will You hide Yourself forever?…Blessed be the Lord forever!  Amen and Amen.”  Ps. 89:1,45-46,52

This is a long psalm in part because it describes a long saga, a long journey of the Psalmists observations of God’s faithfulness through time.  The only problem is that the Psalmist sees what to him is a failing of that covenant because bad things have happened and there appears to be no end in sight.

When we are born of woman, we begin a journey which, from our perspective, begins at the delivery table.  For our mother and father, though, that journey began at conception, working through nine months of development.  For our Father in heaven, that journey began when we were conceived at the beginning of the world.  When we are born again by God, our spiritual journey with and in Him begins at that moment of infusion into us of the mercy of faith and our subsequent response to that gift.

When we are born of woman, our journey ends at death.  When we are born of God, our journey lasts a lot longer.

But what happens in between our beginning and our end?  This is the journey of life on earth, in time, among others, in and out of community, toward or away from earthly wealth and pleasures.

It is a journey of mountaintops and valleys.

We have a lot of choices about how we take or manage that journey.  We can go by ourselves, in our own strength, using our own intelligence and talents, walking or running as the sole runner in a race laid out for just me.  We can go with others, sharing our hopes and fears, our heights and our depths, either in covenant relationship (like marriage) or buddy relationships (friends), but then being bound by the thoughts, moods, and desires of others, subject to “group think” and going in the direction set by the community.   In community, both our highs and lows are buffered by the averaging which occurs in groups, by having others’ shoulders to “cry on” or “celebrate with.”  And finally, we can go on our journey with God, suffering the intensities of lows (as did the Psalm 89 psalmist) but having a companion to lean on, learn from, rest under, and be empowered for perseverance by.

Who is your companion on your journey today?  Do you not have one because you are a free spirit and independent?  Do you have many because you are a friendly person, naturally surrounding yourself with your networking groups?  Or do you have One, the One?

If you are on your journey with Jesus Christ as your savior, you might well feel like the Psalmist, thinking that in the ruin and destruction surrounding you that God has abandoned His covenant, that God has somehow proven unfaithful to you.  But, truly, in your heart, in your soul, you know better.  The Psalmist says today “Lord, where is Your steadfast love of old,…Blessed be the Lord forever!”  (Ps. 89:49,52).  How can he say that?  How can you say that?

Both the psalmist and you who know the Lord can say it because, while He may have appeared to have abandoned you, He has not.  Even in the valley of your journey He lifts you up and carries you.  And He will carry you because He was, is, and forever will be.  Blessed be the Lord forever!

To which we reply during our journey of faith into the fearful and unknown, “Amen and Amen.”

_______

© 2017 GBF    All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Bread – Restore

September 1, 2017


Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel…Restore us, O God; let Your face shine, that we may be saved!…But let Your hand be on the man of Your right hand, the son of man whom You have made strong for Yourself!  Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name!” Ps. 80:1-2, 18-19

This “thought” called “Bread” is always rooted in the present but, hopefully, calls us to a future based upon wisdom from God contained in His Word to us.  “His Word” is embodied in Scripture which I quote and Jesus Christ, the “son of man.”

What is rooted today about this Bread is the overwhelming disaster which has overtaken Houston, Beaumont, and indeed all of the coastal area of Texas.  Water, water everywhere and, literally, undrinkable because of the filth and the disease it harbors.  It has devastated everything built and owned by the people who live there.

Right now these people are being rescued from their dire state.  Then, soon, the work of restoration will begin, taking a people who are destroyed in possessions and hope and bringing them back into wholeness.  This massive restoration effort will be conducted by an army of people who will rebuild and restore.  If it is to be effective, this restoration will be driven by love for our neighbor…in other words, it will be driven and superintended by God.

But all this is nothing but physical and, perhaps, emotional restoration.  It is not restoration of the soul.

“Restore us, O God.”  Restore us to what?  To a right relationship with Him.

We can restore our bank accounts, our buildings, our possessions, and maybe even our relationships with each other.  But no-one can restore our soul except God Himself.

And God started that restoration with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the “son of man” known by the Psalmist as revelation from God and the “son of man” and “Son of God” known to us as Jesus Christ.

But how weak are the words of this Psalm that say, when the “son of man” appears, “Then we shall not turn back from You.”  We ask for restoration and get it and then what do we do?  If you are like me, at the next available opportunity we do turn our back on Him who saved us.  We say that, if You “give us life, we will call upon Your Name,” but we have been given the gift of life and, most often, we do not call upon His Name.  In fact, when things are going well, we tend not to call upon Him at all.  All we have to do is to add up the time we spend in prayer, the time we spend in study of God’s Word, and the time we spend in worship, and then compare that sum to the amount of time we spend watching television or listening to radio, and we will know very quickly whether we are in the practice of calling upon His Name.

The sad fact is that the people of Houston cannot restore themselves to wholeness.  It will take the resources of an entire state and country to do so.

The sad fact is that we, the people, cannot restore our soul to wholeness.  It will take the resources of the Creator.

And the resources of our mighty God have been deployed in this restoration to glory – He has given us Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for our use in this restoration of life.

There will be people in Houston who will reject the gift of restoration they are offered because of pride.  They should accept.

There are people who will read this Bread who will reject the gift of restoration of life eternal with God because of pride.  We should accept.

When the people of Houston are restored, their restoration will be temporary, gone again in the time of disaster and death.

When the people of God are restored, their restoration will be permanent into eternal life.

________

© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

Bread – When

November 23, 2016


Psalm 42

My soul thirsts for You, O God, for the living God.  When shall I come and appear before God?”  Ps. 42:2

Another reading of this question is “When shall I come and see the face of God?”

In both versions of the question, the operative word is “when?”

When shall I satisfy my thirst, the hole which is in my heart which can only be filled by God?  When shall I give up my foolish ways and follow the ways of God?  When shall I say “no” to Satan and the world and say “yes” to Christ and life.  When shall I turn from my sinful ways and turn toward God?  When shall I die?  When shall I meet God face to face and be asked that terrible (or wonderful) question, “What do you have to say for yourself?  What do you have to say for your life?”  When shall I be judged?  When shall I belong?  When shall I be safe forever?

When shall I abandon the straightjacket of man’s reason and embrace the wonder of faith in God’s wisdom?

When indeed?

If you have not already had your “when” moment, when you fell before God and received His gift of grace, when you believed in Jesus Christ and turned from sin toward God, then there are only three choices which man will claim – I will do it now, tomorrow, or never.

These man-made when’s (today, tomorrow or never) have a nice ring to them, because they tickle our self-bone and exalt us over everything.  There is a problem, though, because the real answer to the question “When shall I come and appear before God?” is either today or tomorrow.  It is never “never.”

One of Satan’s greatest tricks, I think, is to make us believe that decisions and consequences can sometimes be put off forever.  But God says that there is a time coming when all of us will meet Him face to face, and at that time we will either be judged by Him to eternal judgment or be found guilty but forgiven, covered by Jesus’ sacrifice.

We are entering into the seasons of distractions, when the world clamors for attention.  But attend to this, please …. When will you come and appear before God?

It may be sooner than you think.  In fact, it may be today.

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

Bread – Urgent

November 2, 2016


Psalm 39

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” Ps. 39:4

When something becomes urgent in our lives, we focus more and more and work harder and harder to achieve the goal.  For example, we are working on a two hour exam and we are two-thirds of the way through and look up at the clock, realizing that we have just 20 minutes left.  The alarm bells go off, our daydreaming ends, and we sharpen eye and pencil to complete the test on time and accurately!  Our failure to budget our time has resulted in the urgent, the need for rapid, decisive action.  And we take off like a rocket to “git ‘er done.”

For another example, we start getting sick at noon but have other business to attend to.  It is now 6:00 and we are running a fever and have a splitting headache.  We need urgent attention, but the doctor’s office is closed.  We race, perhaps even dodging the slow-poke drivers in our way, to the “urgent” care center, where we know relief is one shot of medicine away.  Cost?  Irrelevant.  Other things to do?  They take a back seat.

When we are in the moment of urgency everything takes a back seat.

Why was David asking God to let him know how fleeting his life was, how long he had to live?  Maybe to remind him that there is only 20 minutes left on the test clock.  Maybe to remind him that our life on earth has a definite limit.  God didn’t have to tell David the measure of his days; David already knew his days were numbered, whether many or few.

We know this too.  Death lurks behind the door of our lives.  We say that a person’s death is untimely.  Really?  Do we not know that our life may be gone tomorrow?  Of course we do, when we think about it.  We just don’t like to think about it, so we don’t.

But David understands that if a person thinks about death, if a person knows it could be tomorrow and that death is imminent, one immediately moves from the tomorrow to the today.  The urgent drives us to live in the moment, with no care for the past and no worry for the future.

David wanted to live an urgent life, one full of concentration, joy, and effort … and so he needed God to help him focus by pointing out the ticking clock.

What would we do today if we lived the urgent life?  What phone calls would we make, what apologies would we give, what good things would we do for others, what conversations would we have?  What would we do to make amends, to get done the important projects, to show love, and to engage with everyone around us?  What would we do with our relationship with God?

We are fleeting; our days are numbered.  Are we living like it?

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

Bread – Fret

October 10, 2016


Psalm 37

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of evildoers!…fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!…Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Ps. 37:1,7-8

The “frets” of a guitar are the little ridges along the handle which are used to tighten the string when they are pressed down to produce a higher note.

The “frets” of this life are similar.  They are the little things which, when pressed by us or by others, cause the strings of our lives to tighten, producing higher and higher, shriller and shriller notes.  Whereas the frets on the guitar are used deliberately to produce chords and melodies, the frets of our life are pushed by us and others haphazardly to produce shrillness and dissonance and non-chords, or discord.

What are these frets of our lives?  Primarily, they arise when we start comparing ourselves to others.  “Be not envious of evildoers?”  Why would we be envious?  Because many, many sinful people manipulate our society very well, producing great temporary wealth, position, and fame.  We look around and see the big houses we do not have, the nice cars we do not drive, the retirement accounts we do not have, the clubs we do not belong to, the schools we do not attend … and we fret about our well-being, we worry.  We say to ourselves, “why do the wicked prosper” and, in the process, the haphazardly push the frets of our lives, bringing discord and disharmony unnecessarily to our self-assurance, our friendships, our family, and our relationship to God.  And Satan smiles.

What happens when we worry about getting ahead in the world, of keeping up with the Joneses, of making sure that we too have the big house, the expensive clothes, the nice car, and idyllic lifestyle of the rich and famous?  The Psalm is clear — “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”  When we fret over what we do not have (or what other people have), we tend to want to copy them … and since they sin and do evil (in all likelihood), so might we.

So we have a choice this week.  Fret and pay the consequences, or trust in the Lord and receive the blessings.

Fret or trust, worry or faith.  One leads to discord; the other to concord.  One leads to disharmony; the other to good music.  One takes on the burdens of life; the unloads the burdens of life onto someone more capable of carrying them.

What are you fretting about today?  Is it helping?

To fret or not to fret?  That is the question.  What is your answer?

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

Bread – Speak

August 31, 2016


Psalm 33

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him!  For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” Ps. 33:8-9

Don’t you sometimes wish that, when you speak, people did what you commanded?  Or when you have to take out the garbage, wouldn’t it be nice to just tell the garbage to leave and it left?

We laugh because we know that we have no power to effect anything by our speech, except maybe stir up the flame of the tongue.  We can destroy with the tongue, but even then the world does not obey our spoken word.  It is harder to build up with speech, but it is possible.  Even then, though, the world does not obey our speech.  We can tell someone to care for themselves when they are ignoring personal hygiene and they won’t; we can tell them to care for others when they are being selfish, and they won’t.  Even if we have some power over them (like a place to live or a place to work), at best we stand a 50-50 chance that, when we speak, we will be heard and our commands will be obeyed.

But God is not like us.  His power is beyond our imagination.  “For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.”  He speaks and it happens.

If God who spoke into creation is willing to commune with us through His Word, His sacraments, and His presence through the Holy Spirit, why don’t we let Him?  After all, if He speaks into our lives, we will come to be in His strength.  If He speaks to us in our time of need (and in our time of plenty), we will stand firm in the evil day.

God’s Word creates, it encourages, it restores, it satisfies, and it saves.  When God speaks, it comes to be.  What He says goes.  What He says be, it is.  What He says ends, ends.

Do we not want that creative, loving, powerful, encouraging, hopeful voice of God in our lives?

Lord, speak to me so that I might hear?  No.

Lord, speak to me that I might be.  Be free, be happy, be content in all things, be strong, be persevering, be confident, be full of grace, love, and wisdom … in other words, be me.

Do we feel free?  Are we happy?  Are we content, strong, persevering, confident?  Are we full of grace, love, hope and wisdom?  Are we fully we?  No… then maybe it is because God needs to speak to us.  Are we going to let Him?

_________

© 2016 GBF  All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

Bread – Pounding

June 10, 2016


Psalm 23

“He leads me beside still waters.”  Ps. 23:2b

Our roof, like so many in North Texas, suffered hail damage and has to be replaced.  The replacement is occurring while I write this, and directly over my head is constant pounding upon the roof.  Pounding, like an oncoming headache type of pounding.

And, so, the Lord has led me today beside turbulent waters, being stirred up by the pounding of replacement and repairs, by the world’s hammering on my ears, body, mind, and soul.

Very distracting, these turbulent waters.  So turbulent, in fact, that I can think of nothing else.

Isn’t this the way we wake up every day?  Oh the pounding may not be as physical and we may turn the pounding of life into the more politically correct “drumbeat” of life, but don’t we wake up every day to the drumbeat of demands, the commands of the agenda, the rigors of dealing with the troubles of life, being pulled this way and that way, hurry up and move along?  Get up, get bathed, get dressed, get ready, get gone?  And when we get to the end of the day, who is not exhausted from all of the things we have had to pack into our day … the meetings, the telephone calls, the e-mails, the text messages, the posts to various Internet applications, the “to do” lists, the animals in the three ring circus of life which don’t behave, the demands of bosses who expect too much and know too little, the pressure for profit, and the self-improvement reading of the day.  And, of course, the daily pounding we take from computers which don’t work and all of the gadgets which are supposed to improve our lives, but need to be daily cared for and fixed!

And here I am, writing another Bread which may add to your daily pounding of things to do.

What is wrong with this picture? Well, it begins with my statement “The Lord has led me today beside turbulent waters.”

The reason is that this statement is both right and wrong.  It is right in the sense that God is sovereign and may well have led me beside noisy waters, but his character, according to the Psalm today, is that He leads me beside still waters, not noisy waters.  His intervention in my life straightens out my crooked path; it does not my path more difficult.  His speaking to me calms my soul; it does not induce pounding headaches.  No, the real author of confusion, pounding, storms, distractions, and busyness is the current prince of the world, Satan.  Satan’s purpose is easy to see.  If he can keep me distracted, then I have no time to walk with God and let Him lead me beside still waters.Sheep need still waters in order to drink.  They will not drink from loud, running, pounding waters.  And they need water to live, just like we do.  The reason God leads His sheep by still waters is so that they can live, so that they can be refreshed, and so that they can be restored.

We know we are sheep.  We know we need to drink deeply of the water of life in order to fully live and not just survive.  We know these things and yet we let the world intrude upon our relationship with God.  We let Satan’s pounding distract us from Godly relationship.  We are so busy trying to grab a swallow from the river of life that we do not let God guide us to the still waters where we can rest in peace, being fully refreshed.

We talk about prayer time all the time, and for many it is another pounding, another slot to fill in an already busy day.  How can I allocate 15 minutes to God when I have to get the kids to school, when I have an important meeting, when I need to finish this memo, when I have to get ready for the exam?

Let’s stop talking about prayer time for a minute and talk instead about still waters.

Do you not want to drink beside still waters.  Let God take you there.  How?  Talk to Him and let Him talk to you … however long it takes.  And when you have finished drinking from the water of life, then let the day begin.  You can look back and call it prayer time if you want, but other names that come to mind are peace time, soul time, refreshment time, living time, and loving time.

And for peace, soul, life, refreshment, living, and loving we should take time.  Walk with God, talk with God, and drink from the still waters of heavens.

And the pounding will go away.

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Bread – Poverty

June 8, 2016


Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  Ps. 23:1

In our Declaration of Independence, three things are stated that man should strive for without the interference of king government:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

At our deepest level, aren’t those the things we most strive for in life – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

What is the fullness of life?  Satisfaction of basic needs, like water, food, a dry place to sleep, a safe place to work and sleep, a way to get around (transportation)?  Or is it something more than that, the building of family and friends, good relationships with others, and perhaps doing something which leaves the world a little better than we found it?

What is the best evidence of liberty?  Freedom from fear, limitless opportunity for growth, power to act independently exercised in moderate ways, the ability to be in or out of community as best suits our temperament, the strength of mind and body to be able to say both yes and no as appropriate, courage to be alone and courage to be with others?

What evidence exists when we are able to pursue happiness?  Probably both life and liberty, because with both we are able then to chase after our dreams and grab hold of what builds us up and reject what tears us down.

“I shall not want.”  I shall not want for life, I shall not want for liberty, and I shall not want in my ability to pursue happiness.

When the Lord is my shepherd, my Lord who guides me, guards me, and guarantees my place in the flock, I shall not want for life, I shall not want for liberty, and I shall not want in my quest for happiness.  When He is not my shepherd, I will have wants in all these areas.  In Christ there are riches overflowing.  In the world there is poverty of life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness.

You notice that I have mentioned poverty in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I have not mentioned poverty of things.

There is a reason for this.  If we follow the world’s ways, we will chase after gods of gold, power, and position, and we may be poor in these things or we may be rich in them.  But even if we have no poverty of things, we will want for the things that matter.  If we chase after the world, we will have poverty of life, of liberty, and of the pursuit of happiness.  The reason is simple … when we chase after things, after the ways of the world, we chase after slavery.  We cannot give of our wealth if we need our wealth to buy more things.  We cannot have relationships if we are bound up in business making more money.  We cannot have liberty if we must forever tend to the wheel of commerce to make sure that our things do not disappear.  We have no time to pursue happiness if we must instead use our time to gather more things.

When you are bound to Jesus, when He is your shepherd, you are subject to His authority, to His commands, to His guidance, to His way, to His rules, and, most importantly, to His love, protection, peace, mercy, and life.  And yet, as sheep, when we follow the Master we have the freedom to live, knowing that He will take us where we need to go to take care of our needs (“He leads beside still waters.”), knowing that we have the liberty to wander off because He knows where we are and will find us and will save us from ourselves, and knowing that pursuing Him first is pursuing happiness.

Do you suffer from poverty of spirit, of hope, of conviction, of life, of relationships, of growth, of love?   Then say (and mean it) that the Lord is my shepherd.  And when you do, the rest of the sentence will follow – “therefore, I shall not want.”

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Bread – Birth

June 1, 2016


Psalm 22

“Yet You are He who took me from the womb…”  Ps. 22:9

This morning, I read an e-mail from a pregnancy counseling center I support which asked me to pray for the birth of babies, that they would not be aborted by their mothers and that they would be born healthy, free of drugs and other medical and mental issues.

I read that e-mail before I re-read the quote above from Psalm 22 – “Yet You are He who took me from the womb…”

And quite frankly, I became quite upset.  One would think that I would be upset at the injustice of a world which would deny babies their lives for the sake of convenience.  But it was more personal than that – I was upset at the depth of my ingratitude for the blessings which have been heaped upon. me to overflowing by my Father.  I was upset that I had never recognized that it was God who had delivered me into life in the first place.

We, as Christians, are so wrapped up in the new man, the new birth caused when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and when we turn from our ways to His ways, we forget that we have been blessed by being physically born in the first place.

Those of us who have witnessed a live birth know it is a miracle.  Yes, it is completely natural and predictable and yes, there is a lot of science behind how to take care of the baby during the first nine months, how to take care of it during birth, and how to take care of it after birth.  But at the end of the day, I think we know in our heart that each new birth is a tiny miracle.

But do we think much of our own birth, about what a miraculous blessing it is to us that we are standing here today, reading this Bread?  No we do not.  Just like we start our car without thanking God for the blessing of transportation, we wake up every morning without thanking God that we were born and that we are living.

We like to thank God for our transformation from lost to saved, and well we should.  But we forget to thank Him that we were born at all.

“Yet You are He who took me from my mother’s womb…”  Indeed He is.  He has delivered us physically from our mothers’ wombs into temporal life, and He has delivered us spiritually from the womb of death into eternal life.

Both of our births come from Him, the first and the second.

For which we should be grateful.  Are we?

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

Bread – Hope

May 30, 2016


Psalm 22

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?…Yet You are holy…In You our fathers trusted…” Ps. 22:1-4

How often have we felt like this?  Out in the middle of our trials and tribulations, surrounded by events not of our (apparent) doing and surrounded by people we would rather not be associated with, we feel really, really alone.  Where are our friends?  Where is our family?  Where is God?

Perhaps the closest we can come from feeling like we have been totally abandoned is if we are a small child and both parents are killed or disappear, or we have some terrible disease fall upon us which is horribly contagious, and all of our friends and family melt away.  But even then, the small child may be helped by some people who come alongside of him.  The contagious disease-ridden person, may see the nurses and doctors surrounding them and they may even see their loved ones outside the windows, aching to get in.

But what if we have fallen to the bottom of the well and the voices of the searchers have wandered away to be replaced by the sounds of the night and by the predators who wander it?

Or we find ourselves alone in a desert, accompanied only by scorpions and drenching heat?

But even in those circumstances we may have memories to attach to, to fill our longing for companionship.

The fact is that, even when we feel like we have been forsaken, there is a part of us which knows that we have not.  The Psalmist joins us in this knowledge, reflecting that, even In the worst of times, we know that God has been faithful to those who believe in Him – “In You our fathers trusted.”

And, yet, as we read this and apply it to ourselves, perhaps there is a “gong” going off in the back of our mind, that we have read or heard those same words before.

And, the answer is, “yes, you have.”  You have heard these words before because they are the same words spoken by Jesus on the cross – “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”  Matt. 27:46

This Psalm is known as the “Psalm of the Cross” by some people because it is a prophecy, written by David at a time when crucifixion was unknown, of a crucifixion, of Jesus’ crucifixion.

In order for God the Father to forgive our sins, there had to be a perfect atonement.  Because Jesus took on our sins, the sins of the world, and because sin is abhorrent to God, an affront to His holiness, God left Jesus and Jesus was truly forsaken.   For a moment in time, all connection, all love, all relationship, between Jesus and the Father was broken.

And in the moment of that separation, in the agony of being abandoned by the Father, what did Jesus remember?  Did He, as the Psalmist suggests, remember that God was faithful historically and, by extension, would be faithful to Him?  We were not there and we do not know, but why not?  He of all people knew the character of God the Father – the very character that had to separate from Jesus because of sin was also the same character which had shown Himself time and time again would not forever abandon His people.  The connection between God the Father and God the Son had to be broken because of wrath, because of sin, and the connection would be restored because of love.

In the moment of His greatest desperation, when Jesus was separated from the Father, because He knew His Father’s character, Jesus also had the greatest hope.

We may and probably will feel abandoned by many around us.  We may also feel so abandoned that we cry forth “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”  And in that moment, instead of despair, perhaps in this we will find hope – the God who rescued Israel is the God who raised Jesus from the dead is the God who has saved us from death eternal to life everlasting.    For those who trust Jesus, we may feel abandoned but we are not, we may feel forsaken but we are not, we may feel unforgiven but we are not.

We have hope in spite of ourselves, in spite of circumstances … because we remember.

_________

© 2016 GBF  All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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